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Windermere merges with Realty Trust Group in Portland market share grab

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Windermere Real Estate bolstered its presence in Portland, Oregon, by merging its Portland franchisee, Windermere Stellar, with long-established local firm Realty Trust Group.

The new company, now called Windermere Realty Trust, will make Windermere no. 1 in Portland by market share, ahead of Keller Williams, and bring it to a total of 530 agents and 15 offices. Realty Trust brings 135 agents and four offices to the deal. The combined companies’ sales volume in 2016 totaled $2.7 billion.

Windermere Realty Trust will be co-owned by long-time Windermere franchise owners Brian and Joan Allen, Travis Talbot, Realty Trust founding partner Todd Prendergast, Geoff and Jill Wood, and Windermere President OB Jacobi.

Prendergast, who started his business in 1997, said the merger gave his agents a firm foundation for the future:

“We found we were doing everything right, we were in the middle of the pack, but it was hard to do all the things we were wanting to do, to bring more to our agents. Windermere is all about supporting local owners, providing tools that we couldn’t provide ourselves. I’m looking forward to that.”

At this size, Windermere Realty Trust can differentiate itself in the fragmented Portland marketplace, said Prendergast. “We are still local, just more powerful.”

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The newly merged company will keep an eye out for other small real estate firms in the city, he added.

Speaking to Inman this week from an event in Portland marking the official launch of Windermere Realty Trust, Jacobi said the merger is a part of Windermere’s growth strategy to partner with “like-minded companies” in markets where it may or may not already have a presence. Windermere currently has over 300 offices in the U.S. with 6,500 agents in 10 states throughout the Western U.S. and Mexico.

Jacobi said that the company was being very selective about who it merged with. He said he had courted Realty Trust for the past five years.

His approach to company expansion is cautious: “We grew in the 2000s a little too fast so we are taking our time now to grow with the people we like, we are being very selective about it. We are not growing for growth’s sake all over the place,” he said.

Email Gill South.